Thursday, November 20, 2008

CAL Leadership Institute

I'd like to share a bit with you about the new Colorado Association of Libraries Leadership Institute. In it's inaugural year, 25 Colorado librarians were chosen to participate in this year long program. A co-worker of mine from the Mancos Public Library and I were lucky to have been chosen for this Institute. Over the course of the next year, we'll be making 4 trips to Denver, and participating in virtual sessions in between. We will be learning about Colorado librarianship, and how to take part as a leader.

Our first session coincided with the CAL Annual Conference. Pat Wagner, of Pattern Research, led the first session, and was amazing. While I've met Pat before, I have never attended any of her talks or workshops. She created three group activities, the first of which began the 'bonding' process with all of the members. Her energy, examples, and stories made the workshop content easy to understand and fun! This was a great way to start the Institute, and the group activities were a fun and informal way to meet and learn about the other members.

Our member group has a wide range of experience, education, come from all types of libraries and have many different job descriptions. What's better, everyone is excited to learn and get the most out of the Institute. I've already had several conversations with some of the other members, and we've all found common ground. The networking opportunities alone make this Institute worth it.

And our Leadership Institute Task Force members - not only are they a great bunch of smart and fun people, they are all library leaders themselves! We will have a lot to learn from them in the next year.

Something I love about the Institute is our online group Ning. It is a wonderful way to communicate with the other institute members. Most of the members are many hours away by car, so in the times in between face-to-face workshops, I can still chat with them about Leadership topics and other things.

Another thing that I love, is that I'm in this with a co-worker, Charlene Swansen. Being from such a remote area of Colorado, we have someone readily available to discuss the Institute; we can really talk in-depth easily, and quickly bounce ideas and thoughts off each other.

Here is a picture of our Leadership members, taken on the day of our first session: